Posted in Language

Top Ten Favorite Children’s Books

Reading out-loud to children is important during the preschool years. Daily reading sparks an interest in books, increases vocabulary, and improves comprehension skills. Here are my top ten favorite children’s books to read in the preschool classroom.

10. A Bad Case of Stripes

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By David Shannon

This book is perfect for encouraging students to eat their vegetables. The book is about a girl named Camilla. She refuses to eat Lima beans because she’s afraid her friends will laugh at her for liking them. When she awakes for the first day of school, she is covered in stripes. As the book goes on, she changes shapes and colors. Her parents contact all the professionals to cure her illness. At the end of the book, an older woman shows up at the door who knows she can cure her. The lady gives Camilla Lima beans to eat and she is cured! Now she eats all the Lima beans she wants and doesn’t care what others thing. A great lesson to teach students!

9. Skippyjon Jones

By Judy Schachner

517X236KSFLAuthor Judy Schachner incorporates Spanish vocabulary within this book. The main character, Skippyjon Jones, is a Siamese cat with large ears who thinks he’s a Chihuahua. He lives with his mother Junebug, his three sisters Jezebel, Jillyboo, and Ju Ju Bee. Skippyjon Jones is joined by a group of imaginary Chihuahua friends, Los Chimichangos. Skippyjon Jones walks into his closet and goes on an adventure. Students enjoy looking at the detailed pictures and hearing the Spanish accent. Best part about this book, it is part of series of Skippyjon books and some come with an audio CD.

8. Mrs. McNosh Hangs up her Wash

11742540By Sarah Weeks, pictures by Nadine Bernard Westcott

I like this book because it is a sequencing book that rhymes and has new vocabulary words. Each Monday at dawn, Mrs. Nelly McNosh does a big wash. She then hangs each object on the clothesline to dry. After the book, students list in order what she hangs on the clothesline. Use this FREE follow-up activity on Teachers Pay Teachers.

7. The Hat

By Jan Brett

The Hat Jan BrettOne of my favorite books to read during the winter months. This story begins with the character Heggie, from Jan Brett’s The Mitten. Hedgie stumbles upon a stocking from a nearby clothesline. He poked his nose in and the stocking gets stuck on his prickles. Every animal he encounters “pokes fun at him”, then runs away. At the end of the story, every animal had gone to get a piece of clothing from the clothesline. As Hedgie heads for his den, he says, “How ridiculous they look, don’t they know animals don’t wear clothes.” This book opens up discussion for not laughing at someone based on what they look like, are wearing, or what they do.

6. It Looked Like Spilt Milk

By Charles G. Shaw

820274I use this book to teach the sight words like and it. The book is repetitious, “Sometimes it looked like a ____. But it wasn’t a _____”. On each page is a white image shaped like different objects – a rabbit, a bird, a tree, an ice cream cone, a flower, a pig, a birthday cake, a sheep, a Great Horned Owl, a mitten, a squirrel, and an angel. At the end, the image is simply a cloud in the sky. After reading the book, it is fun to bring students outside to look at clouds in the sky and see which objects they see. As a follow-up activity, students then draw that object in his/her journal.

5. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

PigeonBusBy Mo Willems

I was introduced to the author Mo Willems by a Kindergarten parent. Since then, I anxiously await new Mo Willems books. My favorite of his is Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. In the beginning, the bus driver announces he is going to leave for a little while. Then, asks the audience to watch things for him until he returns. Before he leaves, he says, “DON’T let the pigeon drive the bus!” This interactive book is hilarious to students. The pigeon comes along and tries his best to persuade the reader to let him drive the bus. There is also an online story on YouTube.

4. Caps for Sale

caps-for-saleBy Esphyr Slobodkina

This book is based on an old folktale. The main character is a peddler who walks around town saying, “Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!” On top of his head is a bunch of caps. First, his own checked cap, then a bunch of grey caps, a bunch of brown caps, a bunch of blue caps and finally a bunch of red caps on the very top.

One day, the peddler sits down under a tree to take a nap, with all his wares still on his head. When he awakens, all the caps but his own are gone – stolen by monkeys, who now sit in the tree wearing them. The peddler orders them to return his caps, scolds them, and yells at them, while the monkeys only imitate him. The peddler finally throws down his own cap in disgust – upon which the monkeys throw theirs down as well, right at his feet. He puts the caps back on his head and walks back to town, calling, “Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!”

3. The Little Red Hen

51CmI+yiaSL._SX372_BO1,204,203,200_Retold by Rebecca Allen, Illustrated by Bob Ostrom

This book is a spin-off of the old folk tale The Little Red Hen. This version is my favorite. The story is about a cat, a dog, a pig and a little red hen. They lived together in a peaceful barnyard taken care of by the little red hen. No one else would help her. When she finds some grains of wheat, she runs to her friends for help planting the wheat, taking care of the wheat, cutting the wheat, hauling it to the mill, and baking the bread. Neither the pig, the dog, nor the cat would help her. As the bread was cooking, a delicious smell filled the barnyard. The three animals rush to help the little red hen eat the bread. She told them they couldn’t have any because they didn’t help her. This story is a good way to explain taking initiative and having a good work ethic.

2. Country Roads

take-me-home-country-roadsAdapted and Illustrated by Christopher Canyon

Teaching is my day job, but nothing can replace my passion for country music. I was introduced to this book by a previous co-teacher who knew my love for anything country. John Denver’s Country Roads is a staple country song. The book has vivid pictures which mirror the lyrics. The song paints the picture of travelling to a family reunion through the hills of West Virginia. I use this book to teach students about being proud of their “roots”, family, and the beautiful countryside of America.

1. The Giving Tree

book_thegivingtreeBy Shel Silverstein

Teaching is a rewarding profession. I want to be known as a teacher who inspired students to think of others. The Giving Tree is a book about giving to others, even when you think you have nothing left to give. Every day a boy would come to the tree. Each time he went to visit the tree, the boy would eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk. This made the tree very happy. As the boy grew older, he began to want more from the tree until nothing was left except a stump. In the end, the boy was an old man and the stump gave him a place to rest.

Are you a classroom teacher? Easily make a TOP TEN list using this pocket chart from Amazon – CLICK TO SEE MORE

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Posted in Websites

Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers is a great website for any teacher. The website is made for educators to buy, sell, and share educational resources. Technology has played a dominant role in connecting teachers around the world. This website is perfect regardless where you teach.

What is Teachers Pay Teachers?

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace for educational resources. Teachers create an account for free. This gives access to millions of resources already made by classroom teachers. You are able to search by category, grade level, or price of product. Best thing – many resources are free!

Why use Teacher Pay Teachers?

As teachers, we empower students to collaborate by working together. Ideas evolve when shared with others. Teachers Pay Teachers is the ideal platform to use what has already been created by professionals in the educational field. I use this website for ideas to enhance what I already do in the classroom. Think of Teachers Pay Teachers as an extension of Pinterest where you actually “use” instead of “organize” what you find.

Benefits of Teachers Pay Teachers.

  1. Create a free account. The free account gives you access to free or paid resources.
  2. Make money. For a $59.99 annual fee, you become a premium seller. This means you’ll earn 85% royalties and pay no transaction fee if a purchase is $3 or more.
  3. Save time. Prepping can be time consuming. Teachers Pay Teachers has thousands of resources. Save time by using something already created by educators.
  4. Share ideas. Think of Teachers Pay Teachers as a global classroom. See what other educators are doing to teach specific skills. You are able to search by grade level, subject, price, and keywords.

Connect with me on Teachers Pay Teachers – click HERE

Posted in Classroom Activities

Winter Animal Classroom Activities

Winter Animal Classroom Activities

I have to be creative when teaching students about winter weather and winter animals. I’m lucky if the weather dips down below 45*. I use a variety of hands-on activities to encourage winter exploration.

Math Center

There are lots of resources that can be re-used in the classroom. I found this math counting activity on kidsparkz.com Each mat has two ten frames with a number above. Students identify the number, then use tongs to place that many cotton balls in the ten frame. After, students will count the cotton balls to add both groups together. This activity focusses on the following skills – counting two groups together, number recognition, and fine-motor.

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This math activity is great for one-to-one correspondence, number recognition, and fine-motor development. Students count how many objects are on each card and clip the correct number. This activity is a great assessment tool. I found this math resource on Teachers Pay Teachers Click HERE for a free download.

Science

Construction Center

Our blocks “magically” transformed into ice. I wrapped wooden blocks using white butcher paper. Students use the ice blocks to build an igloo or a home for winter animals. You can also add cotton balls, pine cones, blue paper for water, and white rocks.

Science Table 

Our science table is set-up similar to the construction center. I added science books about winter weather and animals along with winter animal picture cards.

Experiment #1 States of Matter (Solid Vs. Liquid)

Students hypothesized what would happen if an ice cube was placed on a warm hand. We discussed what a solid is and what a liquid is. A solid is a definite shape while a liquid takes on the shape of the container. Students learned science vocabulary – melt, solid, liquid, hard, cold, shape, and change.

Language Activities

Preschool and Kindergarten aged children benefit from visuals and hands on activities. I enjoy using every space of the classroom to encourage an interest in language. In the classroom library, there are more than just books. The back of the cabinet and wall space are interactive.

Pocket Chart with Winter Sentences

A large pocket chart is great for introducing early reading skills. To go with my winter theme, I printed these sentences with a picture clue to match. I found this Polar Animal Pocket Chart center on thecreativekindergartener.blogspot.com by a fellow early childhood educator. This activity is great for teaching sight words, one-one correspondence when reading, and winter animal vocabulary.

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Winter Themed Books

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Books of the Week

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The Jacket I Wear in the Snow is a great sequencing book. The book starts off introducing the jacket, then names all the articles of clothing the girl wears with the jacket – socks, long underwear, boots, jeans, sweater, mittens, stocking cap, and scarf. The book rhymes, which helps students remember which article of clothing comes next. By the end of the week, students are able to read along as I read.

The Mitten Jan Brett

Jan Brett is one of my favorite authors. This is another sequencing book. A young boy named Nickie is given snow-white mittens knitted by his “Baba”. She encourages him not to lose them since they will blend in with the snow on the ground. Of course, Nickie loses one of his mittens in the snow and winter animals find it. One by one, the animals go into the mitten until there is no more room. The last animal, a mouse, crawls on the big bear’s nose causing him to sneeze. The animals go flying out of the mitten. Nickie finds his mitten silhouetted against the blue sky. This book introduces vocabulary big kickers, burrow, badger, snow shoe rabbit, hedgehog, prickles, mole, meadow mouse, owl, great bear, fox, diggers, talons, and silhouette.

Follow-up activity for The Mitten. Which animal from the book was your favorite?

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The Hat Jan Brett

The Hat is another book by author Jan Brett. This book features Hedgie, a character from The Mitten. Hedgie stumbles upon a stocking from a nearby clothesline. He poked his nose in and the stocking gets stuck on his prickles. Every animal he encounters “pokes fun at him” then runs away. At the end of the story, every animal had gone to get a piece of clothing from the clothesline. It ends with Hedgie saying, “How ridiculous they look, don’t they know animals don’t wear clothes.” This book is great for comparing and contrasting with The Mitten. This can be done using a Venn diagram.

Writing Activities

Writing at the preschool level is giving students opportunities to create authentic writing experiences. My dramatic play is a center students write what they want, with the given supplies. Handwriting is different. Handwriting is properly forming letters and numbers. These activities give students the chance to create, yet tie in handwriting at the same time.

If I were in a snowglobe, I would…

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Students drew a picture of themselves in a snowglobe. Then finished the incomplete sentence with a logical response. Students still learning to form letters correctly watched me write each letter, then formed each letter independently on the given lines. This was my favorite response – “If I were in a snowglobe, I would throw a snowball at my dad.”

Snowman Names

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I have found students form letters properly with teacher assistance. On each “snowball”, students formed a letter in his/her name. After, students turned their name into a snowman.

Do you have preschool winter activity ideas? Tweet me @Little_Kinders on Twitter!

Posted in Dramatic Play

Dutch Bros. Dramatic Play

Dramatic Play is the ideal center to incorporate multiple academic areas. Using real brands students can relate to creates authentic dramatic play experiences.

Dutch Bros. Coffee Shop

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In my classroom, students are very familiar with Dutch Bros. coffee. Every morning, I have one in hand. When students returned from winter break, our dramatic play was transformed into a Dutch Bros. coffee shop. Students took on the role of “barista” by taking orders and making hand-crafted coffee and hot chocolate, just like at a real Dutch Bros. Customers paid with Dutch Bros. gift cards or “pretend” money. Customers raved about the great customer service and yummy tasting coffee/hot chocolate. One customer exclaimed Dutch Bros. was the “Best I’ve ever had!” Perhaps there are a few future Dutch Bros. employees in our classroom?

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Skills Used:

Math – counting, identifying pennies, nickels, and dimes, number recognition, identifying size

Language – using newly acquired vocabulary, speaking, environmental print awareness

Writing – number formation, writing letters of the alphabet

Social Studies – identifying common places in the community, understanding money is used in exchange for goods and services

Special thanks to Koral and team at Dutch Bros. on Guadalupe & Rural Rd. for donating cups and used gift cards to use in our classroom Dutch Bros. The students and I are thankful for your generosity!

Make sure to follow @Little_Kinders on Twitter for more dramatic play ideas!

Posted in Classroom Activities, Uncategorized

Sight Word Practice

Teaching Sight Words

Sight words can be challenging to teach. They are words students will see frequently in text. Teaching Kindergarten helped me create different activities to expose students to sight words. Here are a few I have in class.

Movable Alphabet

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I like to utilize every space possible in my classroom. I used Velcro to attach the metal tray and bins to the side of the shelf. In one bin I have magnetic letters and the other shelf I have Lego’s. Each Lego has a sight word written on each side. Students take a Lego and use the magnetic letters to spell the word. This sight word activity is popular among the builders in class.

Sight Word Star Pointers

Our classroom library has a large variety of books. They are sorted into categories – Science, Social Studies, Math, Teacher Favorites, and Early Readers. Students use the star pointers to find sight words in books. This makes reading fun!

Sight Word Dice

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Students who are interested in writing might enjoy this activity. Students roll the dice and write the sight word it lands on. This helps students identify the sight word and practice writing letters of the alphabet.

Do you have sight word activites you use in class? Tweet me @Little_Kinders

Posted in Dramatic Play, Uncategorized

Dramatic Play Theme – Airport

Dramatic Play Theme – Airport

My favorite thing about teaching PreK is using dramatic play. The holiday season was approaching. I thought an airport would be beneficial for those students traveling. Little did I know my dramatic play creation would grab the attention of a major airline, Southwest Airlines.

To set up the airplane, I used blue butcher paper to cover the cabinets. Then made windows and had students cut out clouds. They loved “looking” out the window as they flew in the sky. On the back of each chair was a seat number. For the pilot and co-pilot, I used the lid from a cardboard box and added “buttons” they would press to make the plane take-off or land.

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Reservation counter
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Pilot controls
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Southwest Airlines airplane

I printed pictures to go along with each job title. Students could chose from gate agent, flight attendant, pilot, co-pilot, or passenger. Each job came with “responsibilities”. When passengers arrived at the airport, they were greeted by the gate agent at the reservation counter. From there, they were handed a boarding pass, and asked to place their luggage through the baggage claim/security scan. Once passengers found their seat, the flight attendant goes over safety features of the airplane. When the flight attendant buckles up, the pilot and co-pilot start the plane’s engine and take-off.

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Airport jobs
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Boarding pass

Why Southwest is the BEST airline!

Since Southwest Airlines was the main airline we used, I sent them photos on Twitter. Little did I know, Southwest Airlines would go above and beyond. Southwest contacted me to find out more how I used dramatic play to teach students about airline industry jobs. Brea from Southwest was kind, encouraging, and caring. To go above simply replying to my airport tweet, Southwest Airlines sent our class a box. When we opened it, there were two cards, pilot wings for each student, and an airport set for our construction center. The students were VERY happy! They also included a coffee mug to fill up with fuel for the day.

The best gift – a card for the future pilots, gate agents, and flight attendants of the world AND a card for their teacher.

 I was extremely touched to find out how much Southwest Airlines values teachers. They could have simply responded on social media with a short response. Instead, they gave our class an airport set to encourage imagination, a coffee mug to fuel the teacher, pilot wings to inspire the future generation, and cards to show appreciation.

Thank you Southwest Airlines!

 

BONUS: FAVORITE POCKET CHARTS

Daily Schedule Pocket Chart w/ Visuals and Storage Pockets – FIND OUT MORE

 

Behavior Clip Chart – Pocket Chart for Classroom or Home Use – FIND OUT MORE

 

Double Sided Pocket Chart for Desks, Classroom Centers, Small Group Instruction – FIND OUT MORE

 

 

 

Posted in Classroom Activities, Math, Sensory, Uncategorized

Using Unifix Cubes in the Classroom

Using Unifix Cubes in the Classroom

Unifix cubes have multiple uses. Here are the ways I use them to teach various skills in the classroom.

Making a pattern

 

 

 

Students need visuals. I include pictures of the pattern I would like students to make, along with the same colored unifix cubes. By putting everything on a tray, it helps students understand the expectation of the activity.

Making letters

In class, we use Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) for our handwriting program. In addition to HWT, I also use unifix cubes to review letter formation.

Do you use unifix cubes in your classroom? I would love more ideas, tweet me at @Little_Kinders

Posted in Uncategorized

Welcome to Little Kinders

Welcome to Little Kinders

Welcome to Little Kinders! Teaching is a profession that evolves due to the sharing of resources, educational studies, and development of technology. Thanks to the internet, teachers across the world are able to connect with each other.

Why you should follow Little Kinders.

I am a teacher.

Profile pic

I’ve taught early childhood education for ten years. I’ve taught in a self-contained preschool classroom for two years. My last eight have been teaching PreK and Kindergarten at a highly academic private school. My teaching experience has empowered me to share my findings with other teachers.

My teaching philosophy.

My teaching philosophy is simple, teaching involves more than yourself. My classroom develops the whole child. In order to accomplish this, I need to include other teachers, my students, and their parents. I focus on academics and social/emotional growth.

Follow the journey of teaching.

Teaching is a profession that is always changing. Teachers have to be open to trying new things in the classroom. The way I taught my first year of teaching has completely changed. Come along and join the journey of teaching early education.

For ideas and resources.

I will be posting ideas for the classroom along with resources for parents and other educators. The best way to grow as a teacher is to learn by others. Working with a mentor teacher should be ongoing, even after years of teaching. Some of my best ideas have come from my coworkers.

I hope you enjoy Little Kinders and follow me on Instagram and Twitter!